Explore how body art changes world views.

From historical images of tattoos to modern piercings and tribal modifications, the way individuals express themselves by decorating their bodies creates a personal narrative. Your Body, Your Canvas offers a perspective on how these ways of expression have evolved over time from underground, to alternative and mainstream.

On display are items from Milner Library’s Circus and Allied Arts Collection, the Chicago Leather Archives & Museum, Vintage Karma Tattoos, North Street Tattoos and most importantly, images of body art within our Illinois State community.

Some of the more interesting objects included in the exhibit are original Sailor Jerry (the father of American tattooing) tattoo design acetates, original circus posters of tribal body art, and a tattoo gun handmade (and confiscated) in the Ohio State Penitentiary. The exhibit is also still accepting body art and the stories behind it from the campus community via social media using the #YourBodyYourCanvasISU hashtag. This slideshow, at the end of the exhibit, is being updated with new images of body art each week.

“I love using actual objects and artifacts in my research, and I’m excited to share this type of research with our students,” said Alexis Wolstein, librarian and curator of the exhibit. The exhibit is being used in several classes, mostly Communication and English courses, as an opportunity to expose students to primary sources research.

Additionally, several speakers will be visiting Milner Library this fall. Join us for these events!

Tattooing: Myth and Reality
September 15 at 5 p.m. | Floor 6 NW

Hear from Ainslie Heilich and Brian Lynch of Vintage Karma Tattoos in Tuscola, Illinois, on their work as tattoo artists. While tattoos have become mainstream in recent years there are still a multitude of misperceptions about the tattoo industry, the tattooing process, and tattoos themselves. In this talk, Heilich and Lynch will explain the reality behind some of this myths and describe how to get a tattoo in a safe and educated way.

Kink and Fetish: A facilitated discussion with ISU Pride
September 16 at 7 p.m. | Room 164D

Join ISU Pride for a facilitated discussion on kink, fetish, and other topics. We will discuss the history of kink & fetish and how they connect to the world of body art, as well as hearing from members of the fetish community on how to explore kink & fetish in a safe, consensual, and respectful way. Adult subject matter will be discussed; this talk is not recommended for those under the age of 18.

HORIMONO: A Retrospective of Japanese Tattoo from the Past to the Present
October 13 at 6 p.m. | Floor 6 NW

Steve McClintock, ISU art education graduate of North Street Tattoos in Normal, will present on the history of tattoos in Japanese society and culture. Japanese style tattoos are one of the oldest established tattoo styles. McClintock will discuss the mythology and artistic styles that define Japanese style tattoos, as well as how the style has evolved over the years.